Reporting soon will be required on air releases from animal waste
BISMARCK, N.D. – Due to a recent court decision, some farms (including ranches, livestock operations and/or animal operations) will soon be required to report hazardous substance air releases from animal waste under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) when those releases meet or exceed 100 pounds of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide within a 24-hour period.
CERCLA and a related law, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), have always required reporting releases of a hazardous substance that exceeds a reportable quantity within a 24-hour period. The purpose of the notifications was to help federal, state and local officials evaluate the need for an emergency response to mitigate the effects of the release to the community.
Previously the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted farms from reporting air releases from animal waste under CERCLA, and only large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) were subject to EPCRA reporting.
“Environmental and animal rights activist groups such as HSUS and the Water Alliance sued EPA, forcing agriculture to be a reportable entity on emissions,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.
For several weeks Goehring has been meeting with the EPA to determine how North Dakota livestock producers would comply with the reporting requirements.
“There is confusion with no real clarity on how one would assess if they are required to report,” said Goehring.
Producers can visit http://www.epa.gov/animalwaste to look at one model to help determine if they are affected.
The law was to be implemented Jan. 22 but EPA filed a motion last Friday to delay the mandate for 90 days. Producers should not start reporting until the mandate is issued.
“I believe the only solution is a legislative fix,” Goehring said. “We will work with our congressional delegation to seek a fix to the mandatory reporting.”
–North Dakota Department of Agriculture